Cape Verde inaugurates first molecular biology laboratory with Gulbenkian support

Cape Verde’s Prime Minister inaugurated Thursday at Hospital Agostinho Neto (HAN), in Praia, the country’s first molecular biology laboratory, funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation, to strengthen the early diagnosis of cancers and decrease the stage of the disease.
“The molecular biology laboratory will strengthen the response capacity in terms of early diagnosis, decrease the stage of the symptomatic disease and support more efficient therapeutic decisions, namely in what concerns breast cancer”, stated Ulisses Correia e Silva, in the official speech at the inauguration of this new infrastructure, located in the country’s largest hospital.
Data from the oncological registry of the HAN show that in Cape Verde (between 2019 and 2021) breast cancer was the most diagnosed (27.8%) and most cases are diagnosed in advanced stages, which compromises the survival rate of patients.
The president of the HAN, Emadueno Cabral, said that this year alone the hospital has already registered 48 new cases of breast cancer, and therefore considers that the country is now strengthened with an “advanced capacity” for diagnosis, which will also contribute to improving the quality of responses to oncological diseases.
Among the improvements, he pointed out the reduction of waiting times to obtain results that were previously sent abroad, the reduction of costs in the diagnostic process and a better capacity to define efficient treatment through laboratory characterization.
“This hospital continues to be engaged in organizing its services and promoting skills to strengthen the response capacity of the hospital and the National Health System (NHS) to the challenges of early diagnosis, treatment and care of cancer patients,” assured the leader, saying that the laboratory will have a dual function, diagnosis and research.
The first Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cape Verde was funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation under the support for the development and consolidation of scientific careers of young researchers in health sciences in Portuguese-speaking African Countries (PALOP), particularly under the project led by Cape Verdean researcher Pâmela Borges.
In a video message, the Foundation’s president, António Feijó, recalled that the institution he heads has been collaborating with Cape Verde’s Ministry of Health in terms of training health professionals and reinforcing specialized clinical equipment in the two central hospitals, but also in health research.
For the Prime Minister, the laboratory is another investment that adds to others made in the country’s largest hospital, namely the rehabilitation of equipment and imaging services, the clinical analysis laboratory and the emergency room.
By 2026, the Prime Minister has indicated as a priority the strengthening and improvement of primary care, strengthening the improvement of hospital care, implementation of the medical emergency system at the national level, and strengthening investment in public health and health security.